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 Why should the US and a few other countries subsidize medicine development?

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Eric

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PostSubject: Why should the US and a few other countries subsidize medicine development?   Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:44 pm

From The Atlantic http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/04/why-chemotherapy-that-costs-70-000-in-the-us-costs-2-500-in-india/274847/

Why Chemotherapy costs $70,000 in the US and $2,500 in India.

Quote :
Why does Gleevec, a leukemia drug that costs $70,000 per year in the United States, cost just $2,500 in India?

It's seemingly simple. Gleevec is under patent in the U.S., but not in India. Accordingly, Novartis, its Swiss-based manufacturer, may prevent competitors from making and selling lower-cost versions of the drug in the U.S., but not in India.

Last week, India's highest court rejected an application to patent Gleevec. While the legal issue in the case is important -- the patentability of modifications to existing drugs under Indian law -- the impact of the decision will likely be broader than just that issue, escalating a long-simmering fight over patented cancer medications in emerging markets.

U.S. patients will not indefinitely pay a 20-fold increase on the price of medicines that Indian consumers pay.

Rejecting the Gleevec patent application is not the only step that the Indian government has taken to circumvent patents on cancer drugs. Last year, India issued a compulsory license on Nexavar, a late-stage kidney and liver cancer treatment, enabling a local drug firm to produce a generic version of this medicine without the permission of Bayer, the patent holder. India has recently announced plans to grant compulsory licenses on another leukemia drug and two breast cancer therapies.

India is not alone. Indonesia recently issued a compulsory license for a treatment for liver cancer-causing hepatitis B. China and the Philippines amended their pharmaceutical patent laws, making it easier for those governments to take similar measures as India.

This sucks. What we need is leadership here... something lacking in the partisan halls of Congress... where money steers the ship.

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